Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bali, Indonesia: Day 4

Around 11 am, we checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to our next destination, Ubud, which is the cultural and artistic capital of Bali. I was glad to be leaving Jimbaran, because our hotel there was far away from everything, and to go anywhere, even the beach or a restaurant, we had to take a shuttle bus or taxi. I love walking in new places, and since I constantly had to return to the hotel for little R's naps, a bad location was highly inconvenient.
But our new hotel was far worse, being out in the middle of nowhere, and with no shuttle; instead, we had to pay the hotel an exorbitant fee and then take a 15 minute car ride whenever we wanted to go out. It was also an older hotel (maybe 10 years old), which means it was falling apart, being cheaply built of concrete and not maintained. The lampshades were cracked, the floor was stained, and the water pipes broke while we were there, leaving us without running water for about 24 hours; when they fixed it, the water came out in a strange purple color due to mud contamination. Poor little R had to stay dirty and sweaty as a result.
All of this was frustrating because it was expensive (around $300/night), and because B's dad (who picked the hotel) was in denial about it all. He kept saying that it must have been a converted palace (even though it was obviously an all-concrete construction). This is because he lives in a constant state of delusion and is literally unable to hear anything that conflicts with his preferred belief (in this case, that he hadn't picked a ripoff hotel). For example, he is convinced that B likes grilled chicken, and will often order it for him, saying "I know how much you like chicken". The truth is that B does not like chicken at all. He has told his father this dozens of times, but because B's father likes chicken, he can never recall these conversations.
However, he isn't actually crazy, and thus was aware on some level that the hotel was bad. This made him grumpy. Once we'd checked it, he wanted to go to town, but it was time for little R's nap, so B and I couldn't go. He was annoyed, and told us that he was planning on doing more things by himself, not on baby time (which was fine! I would have loved more time apart). But then he went further and talked about how little R was a "burden", and "he'd done his time" (not true, BTW, he was an extremely inattentive father), and how she was "negatively impacting" his trip.
I was furious, because even though of course it's true that babies are burdensome, who says stuff like that to their mothers?? Especially if it's your grandchild. I didn't say anything immediately, but about 30 minutes later he said something to me, and I just lost it. I asked him how he could say something so insensitive and rude to me, and told him that he'd really hurt my feelings. He (of course) denied everything, and said he meant little R was a burden to me, not him (even though the conversation had just happened). What a douche. At this point B attempted to intervene, but it quickly became apparent that 1. his father wasn't going to apologize or do anything else conciliatory, and 2. I was going to argue with him about his perception of reality. So B told his dad to leave, because it would be better for us to be apart. He wouldn't, so B, little R and I left, and didn't see my father in law until the next day.
Luckily B was not at all upset with me, so we thought no more about his father after the initial conversation, and had a great time wandering around Ubud. We visited several temples, ate a delicious lunch at a Vespa-themed Indonesian restaurant (with the usual free "babysitting" service), got drinks at a nice cafe overlooking the rice paddies, and then walked to the Monkey Temple park, where a ceremony was underway. All the locals were in traditional dress, progressing through the darkened forest (it was just after sunset) with temple offerings on their heads. In the background we could hear gamelan music and the sounds of a shadow puppet performance. After dinner at another Indonesian restaurant (this one used only organic and local products, for hippie tourists I suppose), we went back to the hotel.

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